Ryan McCulloch – ‘Combat’


A no-frills rock sound energizes throughout Combat, a stellar album from Canadian artist Ryan McCulloch. Performing all the music heard on the record, McCulloch has been playing local shows in and around the Thunder Bay, Ontario area — and now showcases his fervent rock sound to the world with Combat, self-recorded in his basement. Aesthetically, the release pursues a rock-forward push with elements of power-pop and lo-fi spontaneity, adorned with “heartland Americana lyrics,” per the artist.

“The record is a character study of small town people with big ambitions, the points where you need to overcome who you are to become who you feel you need to be and the cost of that,” McCulloch explains. “There is a world in these songs with characters thoughts and feelings. Perhaps a glamorization of the trials and tribulations of the American Dream, I wanted to make a rock and roll record that represents the everyman that thinks he needs to be something more to be a part of the world.”

Ranging from the nocturnal, piano-laden contemplations of the album’s title track to the rousing rock ardency of the opening “Get The Lead Out,” Combat is exemplary of McCulloch’s consuming, eclectic songwriting. “Combat” is particularly magnetic in its haunting guitars and post-punk ruminations, preceded by an anthemic rocker and then followed up by the moody Americana touches of “Heavy Metal.”

“Wasted” is another standout in its lush, textured build, while the finale “Love And Rockets” stirs throughout its epic 9-minute rock unveiling. Combat is a passionately melodic rock showcase from Ryan McCulloch, who seems poised to ascend as the album reaches more ears.

“Get The Lead Out” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of October 2023’ Spotify playlist.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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